Thursday, June 17, 2010


Last week Nathen wrote a nice post about the importance of metacommunication.

That's not the initial theme, but the concluding lesson is that if everyone was skilled at metacommunication then most family therapists would be out of work.

Except that I don't quite agree.  I have done a fair amount of counseling as a preschool teacher and minister, and often a counselor is needed just because the upset or hurt individuals are not willing to extend to each other a normal amount of patience or trust.

When I taught preschool, I loved being able to vicariously apologize.  As a minister that no longer worked.  But usually all I needed to do for "counseling" was get the people together, give them ice cream to be eating, lay down the ground rules for the conversation, and privately ask each person for extra patience and calm for my sake as the moderator.  Then the issues would be talked about and everything worked out smoothly when people who wanted to be friends actually saw how much a situation had troubled or hurt each other.  My biggest role was often disliking the conversation as much as anyone else (and I didn't even have ice cream!) but since I was patient when someone was boring, or calm when someone was angry, or forgiving when someone ignored the ground rules, or surprised when someone explained a perception that no one else expected, then the other people in the room also acted that way instead of following their mood and walking out of the room.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this is really sweet you sound like you have really lovely types of counselling methods.
What Nathan is talking about is on a level that I guess only people who have experienced communication on this level understand what the heck he is talking. it is an extremely deep level of communicating and unless one understands what meta communication is actaully all about one doesn't know what it is.